State Rep. Mike Marron (R-Fithian) said, “For the past year, I have been working as one of the Republican negotiators on the bi-partisan Unemployment Insurance working group. This committee consisted of members from labor, business, and both legislative chambers brought together to form a realistic solution to pay off debt incurred during the Governor’s successive lockdowns on our businesses.
In the spring of 2022, supermajority Democrats passed and Governor Pritzker signed the FY 2023 budget that left a $1.8 billion deficit in the state’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund.
House Republicans strongly opposed the Democrats’ choice to leave a $1.8 billion hole in the UI Trust Fund, rightly arguing that we had the necessary revenue on hand to pay back our unemployment debt in full. The delay in paying back our unemployment debt to the Federal government cost Illinois taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in back interest and penalties.
House Republicans helped bring labor groups and business interests to the negotiating table to work out a solution, and this week, a deal was reached that will reduce taxes on job creators by $913 million over the next five years. Not paying off this debt would have left Illinois businesses on the hook for that $913 million in unemployment insurance tax increases over the next 5 years.
This agreed solution protects all of our Illinois workers by maintaining benefits and avoiding unnecessary taxes on the consumers and business owners. All of the labor groups have agreed to this bill because it protects all of our workers.
A higher rolling balance in the UI Trust Fund will also mean the State of Illinois will be better prepared in the event of a mass layoff event similar to what took place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The business groups that support the agreement represented in SB 1698 (FA#2) include Associated General Contractors of Illinois, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, the Illinois Restaurant Association, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, and the National Federation of Independent Business.
I am always willing to work across the aisle and with any advocacy group willing to collaborate in good faith on the real issues facing our constituents. This General Assembly must work on putting the major differences aside and find common ground on practical solutions.”